In my teachings on creativity and innovation I highlight how challenging assumptions is at the heart of creativity and innovation: if you want to challenge the status quo you need to identify, dismantle and re-build, or create new assumptions to provide a new idea, a new way of seeing something, or new way of doing.
This fundamental came to mind having been to what I thought were two very different gigs over the weekend – one reggae, the other punk.
What was illuminating was the age, or ages of the audience; there were old gits like me who signed up to the musical defining experience in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s with the New Wave era popularising both reggae and punk.
Also present were a tribe of under 30 year-olds. There didn’t seem to be anyone aged 30 to 45.
Now, I had assumed that because I like a form of music and my daughters’ generation seemed to like it as well, that in fact everyone was a member of the club: wrong!
My eldest daughter provided an answer when sharing my puzzlement.
“Dad, we were brought upon the music, and that’s why like it.” said my eldest. “The people in-between didn’t buy into it first time round, and probably their kids won’t either.”
So, we seemingly have a sandwich of followers for reggae and punk, with a void in the middle of a filling of ‘New Romantics to BritPops’.
What I thought was a whole series of fans and followers is merely two episodes separated by a generation.
The experience brought home to me a key point about creativity and innovation – don’t believe your assumptions are the map; your assumptions are building blocks to help you cope and understand the world.
They are also your prison cells for making errors of judgment and understanding.
By using flexible thinking – and developing our skills in this facility – we can make sure we adapt more quickly, and be more creative and innovative to respond to new opportunities.
What you think is your reality, ain’t necessarily so.